Care managers sometimes get cases through attorneys or health-care professionals who come across a struggling older person with no one to help them. More often, adult children hire a care manager for their parents—often, as in my case, from a distance.
Irene Jackson-Brown, a care manager in DC, says she sometimes plays the role of surrogate daughter for a senior when the children don’t live close by or don’t have the time to figure out a care plan for their parents. If the parent routinely goes to the hospital, she says, it’s helpful to have someone who can keep the kids informed.
When Should You Hire One?
Debra Levy, who has been a geriatric-care manager in Silver Spring for more than two decades, says the most obvious time to ask for a consultation is when parents are beginning to have problems doing daily tasks at home—when they forget to take their medicine or to turn off the stove. “Usually people call when their problems are beginning to build,” she says. But care managers can come in at almost any stage.
The nursing facility where my father stayed gave us only a couple days’ notice before he was released, but with the help of our care managers we were able to arrange assistance for him within a week.
Children often call care managers when a parent is moving closer to them. Julie Wadler knew she needed a care manager to help move her mother and father to an assisted-living facility near her home in Alexandria. Just a few years earlier, Wadler had watched her sister go through the painstaking process of trying to find the right facility for her parents near her home in New York. “I wish we had used a care manager in New York,” Wadler says. “I didn’t even know they existed until I was trying to figure it out down here.”>> Next: How to choose a care manager and how much does it cost?